Covid-19 patient capacity in Spain’s intensive care wards nearing peak amid ‘concerning’ pressure on hospitals – health minister

The Spanish government is worried about the number of Covid-19 patients in intensive care wards, with capacity levels expected to peak by the end of this week, Health Minister Carolina Darias said on Tuesday.

“We are still concerned about the occupation of intensive care units (ICUs). We are close to reaching peak hospital attendance this week,” she told a news briefing.

Spain’s average ICU occupation is at 43 percent, but in some regions, it is more than 50 percent.

Darias said Spain’s accumulated incidence rate of Covid-19 cases is decreasing, but stressed that she wanted to “underline the importance” of people continuing to follow health measures designed to stem the spread of the virus.

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The country’s current rate of Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people within 14 days is 667, but health officials have set a target of getting that figure down to 50 cases per 100,000.

The Spanish government has extended travel bans on people coming in from South Africa, Brazil and the UK until March 2 amid fears that more infectious Covid-19 strains from abroad could infect more people.

Darias said the so-called British variant of the virus – B117 – which is more transmissible, now comprises 10 percent of Spain’s total infections.

Spain has recorded 62,295 Covid-19 deaths and almost 3 million infections since the start of the pandemic, according to government data.

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